Online Streaming Act back in House, minister intends to reject some Senate amendments

OTTAWA — The Liberal government's controversial Online Streaming Act is back in the House of Commons, where MPs are set to debate the Senate's amendments.

Also known as Bill C-11, it would require big tech companies that offer online streaming services to contribute to Canadian content.

If passed, the bill will update Canada's broadcasting rules to include online streaming giants such as YouTube, Netflix and Spotify, and require them make Canadian content accessible to users in Canada — or face steep penalties.

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says his intent is to reject several Senate amendments that don't align with the spirit of the bill, including one that is aimed at protecting creators who upload videos on YouTube.

Rodriguez says that amendment would allow big tech companies a loophole to avoid paying into a media fund.

YouTube, which pushed for the Senate amendment, says it would have protected the livelihoods of digital creators.

"It is inexplicable and deeply unsettling for tens of thousands of Canadian creators that the Senate’s efforts to add common sense clarity to this legislation could be rejected," said Jeanette Patell, head of Canada government affairs and public policy for YouTube, in a statement.

"We hope that MPs listen to creator concerns, and we remain committed to advocating for our creators and users in Canada at every step in this process."

The bill is awaiting a final vote in the House of Commons.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2023.

The Canadian Press